Strategic Conversations

Date: 23/05/2018

What will it take to strengthen connection, inclusion and empowerment in our community, leaving no one behind? Sunshine Coast Council in partnership with Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland, Marsden Families Program and the University of the Sunshine Coast invites you to participate in a unique development opportunity.

The Sunshine Coast is in a state of transformation. By 2026 the total population is expected to increase by over 66,450 people to approximately 370,000. This rapid growth will present challenges but also opportunities for innovative local responses to address liveability, pressures around culture and identity and inclusive growth. The Strategic Conversation event brings together a diverse range of people to learn and practice participatory engagement methods and join together in creative and collaborative problem solving to tackle some of our most challenging issues.

Through this event you will:

  • Learn the art of hosting community conversations and how to use stories for social action.
  • Discover new perspectives and alternative ways to advocate for and work with community.
  • Empower community leadership and capacity to respond to challenging issues.
  • Connect with innovative thinkers from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives around questions that matter.
  • Work with principles of mutual respect, shared responsibility and partnership.

Who should attend?

Service providers, community workers, government officers and decision makers, volunteers, advocates, activists, future makers, citizens and anyone interested in community action and development.

Event details


Mary Alice Arthur is an international Story Activist who works with leaders in all levels of public and private organisations and communities.

Further Information

In entering into an inquiry or multi-stakeholder conversation the Art of Hosting process moves you through three different phases in the process – divergent, emergent and convergent.

Day One - In the divergent phase, there is a clear question but no answer. This is a ‘goal-seeking’ phase where a clear and shared purpose gives the collective direction. The divergent phase typically generates alternatives, through small group conversations, creative discovery processes and the opportunity to see issues from multiple viewpoints.

Day Two - The space between the divergent and convergent phase is fondly known as the ‘groan zone’. This is the phase where ‘magic happens’. Different ideas and needs are integrated and it may require participants to stretch their own understanding to hold and include other points of view. It is called the groan zone because it may feel messy, an uncomfortable stretch, but it is also the phase where the new and innovative solution emerges.

Day Three - The convergent phase is goal-oriented and focused, a time of distilling key messages, themes and ideas worthy of progressing to action stage.

Seed funding for a project

During the three day process new partnerships and innovative project ideas will emerge. On day three participants will be invited to provide a project pitch to receive seed funding for their new project idea.


We are encouraging service providers to bring along a community member, client or service user who may be ready for a capacity building / leadership opportunity. There are some bursaries available to support this opportunity. Bursary places are limited please contact to Kim Price to discuss on 5441 8385 or